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Baxter to conduct smoke tests of sanitary sewer

Smoke testing a sanitary sewer line in Springdale, Arkansas at 726 Emma Ave. By Brandonrush [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

The City of Baxter will be conducting smoke testing of the sanitary sewer system over the next two months

The testing will begin the week of Aug. 20, and is scheduled to conclude in October.

The study involves accessing the sanitary sewer manholes located in the streets and utility easements. A special smoke will be blown into the sanitary sewer system to reveal leaks, defects and cross-connections with storm sewer or surface water collection systems.

A non-toxic smoke will be used for the tests. The smoke is designed for this purpose, leaves no residue or stains, and has no effect on the health of plants, animals or humans, the city of Baxter reported. The smoke has a distinctive, but not unpleasant odor and lasts for only a few minutes with proper ventilation.

Because plumbing appliances in individual houses or buildings are connected to the sanitary sewer system, some smoke may enter homes or businesses if:

• Vents connected to the building's sewer pipes are inadequate, defective or improperly installed traps under sinks, tubes, basins, showers or other drains are dry, defective, improperly installed or missing,

• Pipes, connections and seals of the plumbing system in and under buildings are leaking, damaged, defective or improperly installed.

All residents and property owners are advised that if traces of this smoke or its odor enter their home or building, it is an indication that gases and odors from the sanitary sewer system may also enter. Sewer gas can be unpleasant and dangerous. Sewer gas entering homes or buildings poses a health risk to the occupants and should not be ignored.

Should this smoke or odor enter a home or business, contact a member of the smoke testing

crew working in the area. The crew member will be able to assist people with locating the source of the smoke and where it is entering the building. Location, identification and correction of the source of the smoke is strongly advised. Those unsure if the smoke is related to the city's project, contact 911.

The city of Baxter stated everyone's cooperation in this investigation will be greatly appreciated. The information gathered by this testing will be used to improve the sanitary sewer system and reduce operation and maintenance costs.

Contact Aric Welch, project engineer, at 218-316-3645 if there are questions or email at